Mustang made its first public appearance on a racetrack
little more than a month after its April 17
introduction, as pace car for the 1964 Indianapolis 500.
The same year, Mustangs achieved the first of many
notable competition successes, winning first and second
in class in the Tour de France international rally. The
car’s American competition debut, also in 1964, was in
drag racing, where private individuals and
dealer-sponsored teams built Mustangs powered by 427 cu.
In late 1964, Ford contracted Holman & Moody to prepare
ten 427-powered Mustangs to contest the National Hot Rod
Association's (NHRA) A/Factory Experimental class in the
1965 drag racing season. Five of these special Mustangs
made their competition debut at the 1965 NHRA
Winternationals, where they qualified in the Factory
Stock Eliminator class. The car driven by Bill Lawton
won the class.
A decade later Bob Glidden won the Mustang’s first NHRA
Pro Stock title.
Early Mustangs also proved successful in road racing.
The GT 350 R, the race version of the Shelby GT 350, won
five of the Sports Car Club of America's (SCCA) six
divisions in 1965. Drivers were Jerry Titus, Bob Johnson
and Mark Donohue, and Titus won the (SCCA) B-Production
national championship. GT 350s won the B-Production
title again in 1966 and 1967. They also won the 1966
manufacturers’ championship in the inaugural SCCA
Trans-Am series, and repeated the win the following
In 1969, modified versions of the 428 Mach 1, Boss 429
and Boss 302 took 295 United States Auto Club-certified
records at Bonneville Salt Flats. The outing included a
24-hour run on a 10-mile course at an average speed of
157 miles per hour. Drivers were Mickey Thompson, Danny
Ongais, Ray Brock and Bob Ottum.
Boss 429 engines powered Ford Torinos in 1969 and 1970
In 1970, Mustang won the SCCA Trans-Am series
manufacturers’ championship again, with Parnelli Jones
and George Follmer driving for car owner/builder Bud
Moore and crew chief Lanky Foushee. Jones won the
"unofficial" drivers’ title. 1970 was of special
significance as the only year that all the "pony" car
manufacturers fielded "factory" teams with world-class
drivers... Ford beat Chevrolet, Pontiac, Plymouth, Dodge
Two years later Dick Trickle won 67 short-track oval
feature races, a national record for wins in a single
In 1975 Ron Smaldone's Mustang became the first-ever
American car to win the Showroom Stock national
championship in SCCA road racing.
Mustangs also competed in the IMSA GTO class, with wins
in 1984 and 1985. In 1985 John Jones also won the 1985
GTO drivers’ championship; Wally Dallenbach Jr., John
Jones and Doc Bundy won the GTO class at the Daytona 24
Hours; and Ford won its first manufacturers’
championship in road racing since 1970. Three class wins
went to Lynn St. James, the first woman to win in the
1986 brought eight more GTO wins and another
manufacturers’ title. Scott Pruett won the drivers’
championship. The GT Endurance Championship also went to
In drag racing Rickie Smith’s Motorcraft Mustang won the
International Hot Rod Association Pro Stock world
In 1987 Saleen Autosport Mustangs driven by Steve Saleen
and Rick Titus won the SCCA Escort Endurance SSGT
championship, and in International Motor Sports
Association (IMSA) racing a Mustang again won the GTO
class in the Daytona 24 hours. In 1989, its silver
anniversary year, the Mustang won Ford its first
Trans-Am manufacturers’ title since 1970, with Dorsey
Schroeder winning the drivers’ championship.
In 1997, Tommy Kendall’s Roush-prepared Mustang won a
record 11 consecutive races in Trans-Am to secure his
third straight driver’s championship.....
In 2002 John Force broke his own NHRA drag racing record
by winning his 12th national championship in his Ford
Mustang Funny Car, Force beat that record again in 2006,
becoming the first ever 14-time champion, again, driving
Currently Mustangs compete in the Continental Tire
Sports Car Challenge (formerly known as the KONI
Challenge), where they have won the manufacturer's title
in 2005 and 2008, and the Canada Drift, Formula Drift
and D1 Grand Prix series. They are highly competitive in
the SCCA World Challenge, with Brandon Davis winning the
2009 GT driver's championship. Mustangs competed in the
now-defunct Grand-Am Road Racing Ford Racing Mustang
Challenge for the Miller Cup series as well.
Ford has been very successful in the Grand-Am Road
Racing Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge winning
championships in 2005, 2008 and 2009 with the Mustang
FR500C and GT models. In 2004, Ford Racing retained
Multimatic to design, engineer, build and race the
Mustang FR500C turn-key race car. Multimatic Motorsports
won the championship in 2005 with Scott Maxwell and
David Empringham taking the driver's title. In 2010,
Ford Racing contracted Multimatic again to design,
engineer, develop and race the next generation of
Mustang race car, known as the Boss 302R. With any new
race car, it had various kinks and bugs to work through.
The new Mustang Boss 302R achieved numerous pole
positions, however reliability hampered race results.
The following season the Mustang Boss 302R took its
maiden victory at Barber Motorsports Park in early 2011.
Multimatic Motorsports drivers Scott Maxwell and Joe
Foster brought home the win for Ford.
In 2010 the Ford Mustang became Ford's Car of Tomorrow
for the NASCAR Nationwide Series with full-time racing
of the mustang beginning 2011. This opened a new chapter
in both Mustang's history and Ford's history. NASCAR
insiders expect to see Mustang racing in NASCAR Sprint
Cup by 2014 (the model's 50th anniversary). Unlike other
racing series, the NASCAR vehicles are not based on
production Mustangs, but are a silhouette racing car
with decals that give them a superficial resemblance to
the production road cars. Carl Edwards won the first
ever race with a NASCAR prepped Mustang on April 8, 2011
at the Texas Motor Speedway.
Ford Mustangs compete in the FIA GT3 European
Championship, and compete in the GT4 European Cup and
other sports car races such as the 24 Hours of Spa. The
Marc VDS Racing Team has been developing the GT3 spec
Mustang since 2010. The car has most recently
competed in the 2011 24 hours of Spa.
In 2012, Jack Roush won the Daytona International
Speedway’s opening race of the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24
At Daytona weekend in a Mustang Boss 302R. Leading the
Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge’s final 18 laps,
Johnson held off a veritable conga line of six BMW M3’s
behind as he closed on the driving pair’s first win of
2012 in the BMW Performance 200 at Daytona.